taster night ideas for Slimming World

Looking for taster night ideas? There’s SEVEN recipes down below. I’m not surprised you want inspiration, nothing seems to strike fear into slimmers at Slimming World more than ‘we’re having a party next week, bring something along‘. Well, perhaps the words ‘let’s split the room in half, someone keep points, we’re going to do group activities‘. God I hate that. I’m too antisocial at the best of times but being forced to come up with a witty team name and shout out speed foods makes my throat hitch. For those not in the Cult of Mags, a taster night is where everyone is expected to bring along some food to share with the rest of the class and usually results in about twenty quiches and a box of grapes bought from the Co-op over the road by the lady who forgot it was on.

I struggle with taster nights because, as previously mentioned, I don’t like eating food when I don’t know how clean the kitchen it’s coming from is. Luckily I’m in a class now with people who do look familiar with a bottle of Ajax, but Christ, some of the sights I’ve seen in other classes, well I wouldn’t eat what came out of their kitchens even if it contained the antidote to a life-threatening poison I’d accidentally ingested. I don’t mind a slice of Slimming World quiche, I just don’t like to be twanging cat hair out of my teeth for the following week. Anyway, as ‘what can I make for taster night’ and ‘slimming world snacks’ appear quite regularly on the little index of what people search for to find this blog. Well, it can’t all be ‘chubby cub cum explosion’ (can’t remember that recipe?) and ‘fat men fuking’ (masturbation is no excuse for poor spelling, chaps).

Oh! A quick word. When a buffet is served up in class, try and allow the meek amongst us access to the food. A couple of years ago, in a class in Wakefield no less, Paul and I didn’t get any food because half the class – not the better half – dashed forward as soon as the ‘party’ began and formed one giant body of impassable bulk. It was like the Berlin Wall, only smelling faintly of chips. I’ve never seen food shovelled and devoured with such ferocity and I’ve seen Sicilian wild boars being fed. All I wanted was a (nothing-like-a) Ferrero Rocher and a few ‘JUST LIKE DORITOS’ crisps that I could have planed a door with. I had my revenge anyway – the wasabi peas that I put on the table thinking they were syn-free were actually about eight syns a handful. What can I say? My knowledge of the Mandarin language is a little rusty.

So, with all the above in mind, we decided to do a post on snacks, also fuelled by the fact it was Eurovision last night and we like to have a trough of food to work through whilst we watch our entry get annihilated. Before anyone says the UK will never win because ‘it’s too political’ and ‘no-one votes for us because of the war’, that was relevant maybe ten years ago and certainly isn’t now. Russia almost won it and well, that Putin’s been a bit of a tinker this year, has he not? We don’t win because we send absolute shite – po-faced, dreary, period-pain music with insipid staging and crap tunes. No doubt that Aldi Jedward can sing a tune and strum a guitar but they lost a singing competition where literally tens of people voted for someone else to be a winner. Why would that translate to success in the Eurovision Song Contest? EH? We need to send something amazing, with a massive chorus and an uplifting melody, not a song that would barely make its way onto the second CD in the Now That’s What I Call White Noise 87 compilation.

I was just sore because I had Poland and Italy in the sweepstakes, and did you catch them? Poland came dancing out like a crystal-meth Cheryl Cole and Italy’s act was so boring that I forgot about it whilst she was singing the words, which is quite something. I wanted Russia to win. That stage, that song (You Are The Obi Wan, You’re My Obi Wan…) and gasp, when that screen spun around…well, I loved it. Plus one of my work colleagues had Russia in the sweepstakes and I just know he’s going to be spend his winnings on delicious things for the entire floor. That’s right, isn’t it Alan? SHOUT-OUT FOR ALAN. Mahaha. Paul threw his weight behind Sweden, who I can’t really be mean about because the singer was only 8 and he has the angst of puberty to get through. He’s no Eric Saade (2011) with his exploding glass cages though.

As it happens, one of the worst songs managed to win – Kate Bush’s stunt double caterwauling about politics – and Ukraine took the prize, meaning Russia will be hosting the Eurovision next year. Boom boom. We’ve said it every year – we should go to the next Eurovision – and the fact that it is being held in Ukraine only sweetens the deal. If it had been Russia we’d have been conflicted – on one hand, we love the idea of a night of catchy tunes surrounded by every other gay man in existence, but on the other hand I prefer not to have my teeth kicked down my throat because I’m a rampant bummer. Ah yes.

Anyway come on now, let’s get to the recipes, shall we? This is the spread.

taster night ideas

Fancy, right? On view then:

  • Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip
  • our teeny tiny teriyaki tasters
  • sandwiches filled with syn-free egg mayonnaise and tuna and cucumber
  • sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous
  • baked new potatoes with cheese and bacon topping

Out of sight:

  • spicy couscous balls
  • gin and tonic lollies

Three caveats that I’m going to throw in before we begin:

TWEAK

  • some of these recipes are ‘tweaks’ in the truest sense of the word – especially the crisps – and it’s up to you whether you follow the rule of synning them or not – tweaks being when you use an ingredient in a way it isn’t intended to be used, such as slicing a sweet potato to make crisps. I will mention it where appropriate. My own view (which you can find here) is that it’s better to be eating something made from a healthy ingredient than a processed packet of crisps. It boils down to this – 100g of sweet potato is around 85 calories, 100g of Walkers crisps kicks in over 550 calories. I’ll be fucked if I’m synning sweet potato crisps at the same rate as normal crisps. If you feel the need to be all frothy and leave a comment castigating me for my temerity, please save yourself the finger strain, wipe the spittle from your lips and simply don’t bother – personal choice;
  • a couple of these recipes you’ll have seen before if you’re a long-time follower, but I thought it would be handy to put them all in one place; and
  • as usual, I’ve given syn values for a normal portion and I’ll mention when it uses up a HEA/HEB. If you’re eating the entire buffet, you’ll need to think about how many HEB/HEA’s you’re using! It’ll make sense as we go along. Basically, each recipe stands on its own. Right? Right.

taster night ideas #1: sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous:

taster night ideas

to make the sweet potato crisps, you’ll need:

  • a couple of big sweet potatoes
  • spray oil – a few squirts of Filippo Berio’s olive oil is only half a syn, and that’s all you need
  • chinese five spice

to make the sweet potato crisps, you should:

  • to make the crisps, use a microwave, it’s much easier
  • get a big old sweet potato and cut it to uniform thin slices – this is where having a mandolin slicer comes in very handy, because it’ll take no time at all to do the slices – buy one here and never look back, not least because it makes your food look great when it’s all uniform
  • arrange the slices on a plate, squirt with some spray oil, dust with chinese five spice (or indeed, any flavouring you want) and rub it in
  • microwave on full power – it usually takes about six minutes, but keep checking every couple of minutes, and once they start to look dry, turn them over
  • keep a proper eye on them mind, because they can burn easily once they dry out
  • once done, take them off the plate, set aside, and do the next batch

to make the four way houmous, you’ll need:

  • a few small tins of chickpeas
  • garlic cloves
  • fat free cottage cheese
  • a lemon or two
  • sea salt

to make the four way houmous, you should:

  • the basic houmous recipe is simple enough – for enough to fill one of those little square bowls above, you’ll want to use one small tin of cooked chick peas (syn free), a nice round tablespoon of fat free cottage cheese, a garlic clove, pinch of sea salt and some lemon juice. Blend it together, adding a little more lemon juice if you like it runny or keeping some back if you prefer it chunky. It’s up to you. You will save yourself so much time if you get yourself one of these little express choppers that Delia Smith was always going on about between tumblers of Scotch – you can find one here – it’ll make houmous in no time
  • to make the different variations, you just add a few ingredients:
    • lemon and garlic (add an extra couple of garlic gloves, a squidge more lemon juice and decorate with finely grated lemon peel) (don’t take the pith, literally, as that is very bitter – just the top layer, please)
    • basil and parmesan (10 torn basil leaves, 10g of shaved parmesan, bit of salt) – up to you if you want to syn such a tiny portion of parmesan but bearing in mind you’ll be getting what, 2.5g of it, I wouldn’t bother
    • pickled red cabbage (just a few chunks of pickled red cabbage and some of the pickling vinegar added to give it colour
    • paprika and sun-dried tomato – I chucked in 1tbsp of sundried tomato paste (1.5 syns, but again, through the laws of dilution, it’s up to you if you syn it)

Easy! Of course, if you don’t want to fart on making the crisps, just chop up some peppers, carrots and cucumber and use them instead to dip into your houmous. If you want our little serving dish, you guessed it, it’s on Amazon!

taster night ideas #2: teeny tiny teriyaki tasters:

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

This makes enough for 36 sticky teeny tiny teriyaki tasters (fnar fnar), if you make them bigger, adjust the syns per ball. There’s 12 syns in the overall recipe.

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you’ll need:

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together the pork and the beef mince with the egg yolk
  • using a tablespoon, scoop out a spoon-size ball and roll into meatballs – do this for all of the mixture (you’ll need about 36 – if you want, you could weigh out each ball at around 27g each…but life’s too short)
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and add a couple of squirts of spray oil or, urgh, Frylight, bleurgh
  • cook the meatballs until browned all over and cooked right through – you WILL need to do them in batches
  • place cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest
  • when done, mix together the soy sauce, white wine, sherry, honey and ginger in a small jug and pour into the same pan you used to cook the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium
  • cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the pan and stir carefully to coat – I find it easier to tumble the meatballs in and then pick up the pan and gently slosh them around rather than trying to stir with a spoon
  • serve on cocktail sticks and sprinkle over the seeds – don’t sweat it if you can’t find these, you could easily leave them off and that brings the syn count to 1 syn for six – even better – but they look so pretty with the seeds on

taster night ideas #3: Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip:

taster night ideas

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you’ll need:

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 onion (grate half of it, chop the other half)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of sriracha, (1 syn) (you can use any old hot sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 25g panko (4.5 syns) (or use breadcrumbs from your HEB allowance)
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 100g quark

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you should:

Full disclosure: we got this recipe from the fabulous cookingforkeeps.com – her recipe can be found here and looks equally as delicious – we’ve tweaked ours for Slimming World!

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • in a bowl, mix together the turkey mince, onion (grated and chopped), carrot, spring opnions, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, 1 tsp of sriracha, egg and the panko until combined
  • roll into 1″ size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
  • cook in the oven for twenty minutes
  • meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sriracha and the quark to make a dipping sauce
  • slice the radishes and cucumbers as thinly as you can and skewer one of each onto a cocktail stick with the meatball

taster night ideas #4: little sandwiches:

to make little sandwiches, you’ll need:

taster night ideas

No need for a full recipe here, really. Take whatever bread you want from your HEB – we use Kingsmill Crustless Wholemeal bread, which you can have three slices of. Cut nice circles out of them, remember you eat with your eyes.

  • for the egg salad, boil up four eggs, break them up with a fork, add a tablespoon of quark, lots of black pepper, a chopped tomato and some spring onions
  • for the tuna – well, we’re old school, we just like tuna mixed with vinegar and served with cucumber. You could splash out and add a bit of Quark to bind it, I suppose…

taster night ideas #5: baked new potatoes with a cheese and bacon topping:

taster night ideas

to make baked new potatoes, you’ll need:

  • 1.5kg small salad-type potatoes
  • 100g fat-free fromage frais
  • 30g parmesan (1x HEA)
  • 4 rashers of bacon, all visible fat removed
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • chives

to make baked new potatoes, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or an actifry with the paddle removed is just as good – Amazon are selling them for £125 at the moment too!)
  • prick the potatoes with a fork, spray with a little frylight and bake in the oven (or actifry) for about 45 minutes
  • grill or dry-fry the bacon until crispy and chop into small pieces
  • mix together the fromage frais, parmesan and spring onions and set aside
  • when the potatoes are cooked, leave to cool for about ten minutes
  • make a cross in the top of each potato and squeeze the bottoms to open them up
  • spoon in a little of the fromage frais mixture and top with bacon pieces and chives

taster night ideas #6: spicy couscous balls:

couscousballs

Please note: that’s an old photo, it’s actually now 4 syns for all the balls, but you’re not going to eat them all yourself anyway, surely? I’ll nip back in time and change the photo later.

Not worth making a full recipe breakdown for this, because it’s so, so easy. I use two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s spicy sensations couscous, which come in at 2 syns per pack made up with water (so don’t be adding butter, you cheeky buggers). Add the appropriate level of water (whatever it says on the pack) and leave to absorb. Fluff with a fork. Beat an egg and mix it into the couscous, then squeeze as many balls as you can out of the mixture. Pop onto a tray and stick it in the oven on 150 degrees for an hour or so – you want to ‘dry’ them out. Cooked low and slow, you’ll be laughing. For a dip, make tzatziki – greek yoghurt (I use Tesco Finest 0% fat – no syns) mixed with cucumber cut into tiny cubes and mint. Stir, chill, eat.

taster night ideas #7: gin and tonic ice lollies

taster night ideas

Again, no need for a full recipe. We mixed 25ml of gin with a glass of diet tonic, poured it into a cheapy ice-lolly mould like this £3 from Amazon and added a slice of cucumber. Between six, it’s half a syn each. Of course, it’s easy to customise this, put your pint of whisky in, add lime, add fruit, don’t add alcohol, do what you like!

OK, I hope that’s given you some inspiration. It’s certainly made my fingers ache!

Do me a favour though – share this page in as many facebook pages as you can, because taster recipes is one of the main things people need. Spread the love! Leave me your comments below!

Oh it’s worth noting, we did have a couple of drinks to get us through Eurovision, see…

taster night ideas

J

twochubbycubs’ chilli stuffed easydillas

You have no idea how much I love a good pun, so chilli stuffed easydillas – as in a really easy version of a quesadilla, really tickled my hoop. If you’re looking for the recipe, just scroll that mouse-wheel or finger your screen and you’ll be there in no time. 

Have you been out and voted yet? If not, why not? It’s one of the most important things you can do. Even if you think there’s no point, do it anyway. You’ll never get rid of thrush unless you apply the cream, after all.

We’ve finally been back to weigh-in and after spending eight years waiting in the queue cursing under our breath, we’ve been weighed, shamed and course-corrected. Nowhere to go now but down…

…and speaking of going down, let’s discuss Cornwall, shall we? I’m going to do it a little differently – a series of different thoughts, rather than one big monologue – I need to give my poor fingers a rest and anyway, unusually, I didn’t keep notes. So bear with me…

twochubbycubs go to…cornwall – part one

Why Cornwall? Well, naturally, we were attracted to the endless walks, the wonderful surfing opportunity and the chance to lay on a beach and sizzle. Pfft, as if. Let’s get this clear – the only surfing I did was via my iPad to find out when the local Tesco planned to shut off our clotted cream supply. No, we always tend to holiday out of England when we stay in the United Kingdom, but we thought to hell with it, let’s try somewhere different.

And boy, was that a bloody struggle. Seriously – I’ve said it before, there is a massive market out there ready for milking for holiday cottages built for young, professional couples who don’t have sticky-fingered kids, moulting dogs or an extended family travelling with them like fleas on a cat. We spent hours looking for places to rent for a week away and probably found about four cottages that matched what we were looking for. Everywhere else looked like the type of place you’d see on TV in a documentary about someone who got eaten by their cats or drowned in newspapers. Who has ever looked at a room and thought ‘yes, this will do, but we must add more beige’? Eh? I want a cottage full of modern features, tasteful decoration, fun touches and unusual things. Not somewhere where I could see myself stumbling out into the garden to die of terminal boredom, face-down in a Chat magazine with taupe carpet fibres on my tea-stained jumper. 

This was the first cottage we considered.

image8963-3

Admittedly, it looks dull as dishwater inside but heavens, look at the view. I could comfortably see Paul and I as masters of the lighthouse – let’s be honest, if there’s one thing we’re both good at it’s guiding seamen into a safe place – but sadly, they were booked up. Naturally. I’m sorry to be sore about it but I hope Jeremiah (venture capitalist, impotent), Lucinda (yahmy-mummy blog writer) and little Tarquinidad and Labia-Bell (conceived via a rough car mechanic called Trent) had an awful holiday with all those steps to climb. Mahaha.

croft103-at-night

Our second option, pictured above, up at the other end of the land, was Croft 103 – take a look and tell me that doesn’t look gorgeous. Sadly, again, all booked up. By this point I was beginning to grind my teeth and make plans for a European break when Paul found Two Bare Feet via Google, a cottage down in sunny Cornwall. We booked via uniquehomestays.com – who were excellent, very efficient and a pleasure to deal with (25% off next booking please) and we were on our way. We’ll address the cottage in the next entry.

Now, Newcastle to Cornwall is a bloody long drive – just shy of 450 miles, fact fans. We could have flown, but it’s Newcastle remember – the only flights available that weren’t a vomit-express to Malaga didn’t leave on the days we needed. Plus, I needed to work on our day of departure, so we decided to drive halfway after work and stop in a Premier Inn somewhere in Bumhole, Birmingham. I might have made that name up.

What a drive though – the glamour of the A1, the majesty of the M6. We elected to take my car rather than Paul’s Smart car as we needed to take more than two lightly-folded t-shirts and a plimsoll, so his boot wouldn’t have worked. Paul, having driven an automatic now for many months, gave me such a start as he lurched out, over-revving and kangarooing and generally being over savage with my clutch, but luckily we escaped certain death once he didn’t have to slow down or be gentle. That’s unfair – I’m just as bad driving his Smart car. But that’s because I’m six foot of man pressed into a Quality Street tin sized car interior. It remains the only car I can simultaneously pop the bonnet with one knee and open the boot with the other. That’ll be me banished from ever driving it again. Imagine my distress.

There is something about long car journeys at night that I love – and it’s not that it usually ends up with me getting holes in the knees of my jeans in a layby somewhere, because that simply isn’t true. No, it reminds me of my childhood, when holidays involved my parents shepherding my sister and I into a battered Ford Escort at 3am in the morning in order to get a good start driving up into Scotland to “beat the traffic”, as though the A69 at Warwick Bridge was the equivalent of the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe. Invariably it would be too cold to have the windows down so the first few hours of the drive would be spent coughing and spluttering whilst my parents hotboxed us to death via endless Lambert & Butlers. We’d get out for a desultory Olympic breakfast in a Little Chef on an industrial estate outside of Lockerbie with blue lips and a faint golden patina of nicotine. No wonder my sister and I always used to fight in the back of the car – my dad would barely have backed down the drive before punches were being thrown, ankles were being kicked and hair was being pulled – but see that was my sister all over, so I never hit her back.

Gosh, I might do a few blog posts about earlier holidays actually, I love reminiscing of times when I used to be a) skinny b) far less cynical and c) more easily impressed. Let’s get back into the fast-lane though and talk about our current excursion.

I’ve mentioned on previous occasions how much I love stopping at service stations. I find them exciting! Everyone is going somewhere – normally to the cash machine to get £20 out to pay for two coffees and a side of abysmal customer service – and everyone has a tale.  Travelling does something to my sphincter that invariably means I want to stop for a poo at every opportunity, so our short four hour drive took about six hours in the end. Our stops ended up costing us £260 because I was so taken with a Deal or no Deal fruit machine that, when I came home, I ordered one for the games room. I’ve told Paul it’ll help us save money and it will, not least because seeing Noel Edmonds face all lit-up in the corner of our games room will make me so nauseated I’ll not want takeaway. We did have a hairy moment when we turned into Trowell Services at midnight and unpacked our brie and grape baguettes only to have a procession of chavs in their acne-carriages turn up and start doing spins in the car-park. It was Fast & Furious 9: Roaccutane Rush. Listen mate, you’re not impressing anyone by sticking a ‘RIP Paul Walker’ sticker on your nana’s haemorrhage-purple 02-plate Micra. 

We left them to it, driving with a contemptuous sneer of our own which was somewhat diluted by the fact the Archers Omnibus theme-tune was playing through our car speakers as we glided past.  At least it wasn’t Yes Sir (I Can Boogie) which was the song of the holiday. Anyway, our moment of happiness turned into despair when, after a bit more driving, we were informed that the motorway was shut and that we had to find our way to the Premier Inn on our own steam. This was past midnight, remember, and I was tired – I hadn’t managed to finish my baguette either. Paul took control and used a new app on his phone that acts as a sat-nav. Brilliant!

NOT brilliant. No, somehow, those last 25 miles seemed to take an eternity, taking us down all sorts of country roads, private lanes, farm tracks and tiny B-roads. I was cursing the whole time (remember, I don’t trust Sat-Navs) but Paul was adamant we were going the right way. Because I wanted to listen to the end of Brain of Britain, I shut my hole, and carried on. It took us over an hour to reach our destination and it was only then Paul discovered he’d effectively selected the ‘scenic’ route option, avoiding major busy routes. My language was as blue as the bedspread was purple. Our Premier Inn receptionist booked us in, taking a moment to ask Paul ‘who are you?’ before realising that he was the ‘Mrs’ on my booking, and we sank into bed, top layer of skin burning and crisping nicely in the far-too-hot-bedroom. Ah, what a start.

Right, so clearly I can’t just write the odd thought, I do need to monologue. Sorry! I’ll get to Cornwall in the next entry! Let’s do the recipe! Here – this looks complicated and a fart-on to put together, but it really isn’t. So calm your knickers. The picture below shows two portions mind. If you want the lot, you greedy bugger, you’ll need to syn an extra wrap – 4.5 syns. But really, it was almost too much for us, and we’re very confirmed fatties.

chilli stuffed easydillas

to make chilli stuffed easydillas you will need:

for the spice mix:

  • 1½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili flakes

for the sauce:

  • 300ml passata
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili flakes

for everything else

  • 4 BFree Foods Multigrain Wrap, Wheat & Gluten Free (1x HeB per person) (don’t worry, they’ve left the taste in)
  • 400g minced beef (you get a fair few portions of 400g mince in our freezer filler deal with Musclefood, so why not take advantage? Eh? What’s your excuse? Click right here to take advantage of that before we change our deals!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tins mixed bean salad, drained
  • zest of half a lime
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 30g grated reduced-fat cheddar (HeA)
  • 25g sliced black olives (2 syns)
  • 4 tsp quark

to make chilli stuffed easydillas you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • in a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside
  • in a small saucepan heat the ingredients for the sauce together over a medium heat and stir frequently until thickened (this will be towards the end)  
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray with Frylight
  • cook the onions for a few minutes until soft
  • add the beef and cook until browned
  • add the tomato puree to the pan along with the garlic and the spice mixture and stir well, remove from the pan into a large bowl 
  • using the same pan, add the mixed bean salad and allow to cook for a few minutes until warmed through
  • mash roughly – you can add a tbsp of water if it looks too dry – then remove from pan from the heat and set aside
  • spray another large frying pan with frylight and place over a high heat
  • add one of the tortillas to the pan and cook for 30 seconds – flip over and cook for another 40 seconds, then flip over again and cook for another thirty seconds 
  • place on a wire rack to cook and repeat the process for the rest of the wraps
  • spread half the bean mixture onto one of the wrap and top with half of the meat mixture – leave about a centimetre gap around the edge so it doesn’t seep out – and place another wrap on top. do this again for the other one
  • spoon 2 tbsp of the sauce on top of each wrap and top with the diced red onion, diced tomatoes cheese and olives
  • bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted
  • add 2 tsp of quark to the top and serve

 

chicken piglets: stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon

Here for the cutely named chicken piglets? Scroll down to the picture, the recipe is there. But wait, there’s more…

Can I just start by saying that I’m glad that I didn’t have a piss in my car the other day as I previously mentioned, as we now have a strapping young man giving both of our cars a deep clean.I’m just glad he turned up – his message to me was that he’d be here for dinner time. Now to me as a Geordie dinner means 12-2pm and tea is 6-8pm. However, I was fretting that he might be like Paul (i.e. a big Southern shandy-drinking nancy) and believe that dinner is an evening meal and he’ll rock up at 6pm after I’ve spent six hours looking mournfully out of the window like James Stewart in Rear Window. I do feel sorry for him – Paul’s been farting so much in his tiny little Smart car that when you open the door it hisses like the door on The Crystal Dome. I might go and check he’s not face-down on his industrial pressure washer after I’ve typed this. 

Nah, he’s fine. My angst at having people I don’t know touching my things or being in my house has been well-documented, but I’m just about managing to cope without blurting at him whether he’d like a tup of key or a handjob instead of hand-gel. I did notice that my car seat has an unfortunate white stain right where my crotch is and I don’t feel I know him well enough for him to believe me when I tell him it was a dollop of McFlurry and not jism. One look at me and you’d know I’d never miss a mouthful of McFlurry. Then again, one look at me and you’d know I’d never miss a mouthful of…and we’ll stop right there, thank you. 

Anyway, today is to be spent out in the garden, walking around, occasionally picking up a spade, putting it down again and ringing the gardener. This probably sounds like the height of laziness but listen, I feel like life is too short to be clarting about hoeing and weeding and strimming. We’ve got all the tools – we inherited a fantastic shed full of manly things (which we naturally turned into a cat-house and a place to store our many, many tins of beans) when we were given our house – but I can’t find the inclination. That said, I do like growing vegetables and this year’s theme is weird and wonderful – unusual colours and types of vegetables, including black tomatoes and rainbow carrots. Our neighbour (one of the decent ones) came over this morning to give me five tomato plants so I’m sure that’ll keep me busy. See, if I buy them myself and forget about them, I’ve let no-one down, but because he’s given the plants to me I feel duty-bound to be out at all hours watering and tending to their every whim. It is worth it, everything tastes nicer when you grow and nurture it yourself  (except, say, vaginal thrush), but I find it all very stressful making sure everything is watered and happy. I only need to spend fifteen minutes extra in bed on a Saturday for everything to turn yellow and die off in a huff. 

We did go and get weighed on Thursday and although we both put on (2lb each!) that’s more than fair enough – we’ve had my birthday, Easter, two meals out, drinks and the Bank Holiday to contend with. I admit that we’re struggling to fit Slimming World into our life at the moment – we’re eating healthily when we can but I can’t go out to a restaurant and be that guy who orders a salad with a pot of dressing on the side and eight hankies to wipe my tears away with, plus, let’s be honest, a night out isn’t the same unless you’re on the hard stuff and finishing off with something slopped from a takeaway van that practically walks on its own steam. I’ve got our end of year party at work next week followed by a Fizzy Friday after that, Paul’s going down to Peterborough to see friends and to wash the sheen of nicotine off his mother and then we’ve got a holiday booked for the last week in April! How am I supposed to diet around that lot? I bought Slimming World’s magazine for tips and inspiration but it made all my teeth rot away with the sugariness of it all. Actually, I suppose that does help. I did enjoy how one of the few pages dedicated to men was about looking after your prostate. Very important indeed, but the guide made it sound like it was a Tamagotchi from the nineties and well, just like the plants, I killed all of my Tamagotchis through sheer idleness. You’ve never known terror until someone has told you to look after their tamagotchi whilst they’re away and you check and find two piles of poo and a skull icon. Oops!

So, aside from that, just a lazy weekend ahead. That’s the joy of having no children or commitments see, it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your dressing gown watching Netflix, only moving to put some coffee on or to open a window. I often ask what people are doing at the weekend and it’s invariably full of a list of wholesome children activities that make my eyes glaze over – taking them swimming, taking them to parties, taking them to soft-play, driving them to a friend’s house. That’s why I couldn’t have children, far too much of a constraint on my time. If only they came with batteries that you could remove and bundle them into a cupboard so you could do all of the exciting things like take them to Disneyworld or have an amazing Christmas without dealing with all the poos and strops and tantrums, I’d have several, possibly in a range of different shapes and sizes. But until that day, it’s just me, Paul and the cats, and even they are playing up lately, with the cat who likes being spanked getting way out of hand. I half expect to see her pressing her nipsy up against a hot radiator and meowing ‘OOOH I’M A FILTHY SLAG’ in cat-speak. She won’t stop mewing and showing off her minnie-moo, she even did it when the car-wash man came to the door earlier. She’s lucky he didn’t use her to hold his chamois.

chicken piglets

This makes enough for four – one each!

to make chicken piglets, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 120g of lighter mature cheddar (this amounts of 3 x HEA choices, or 1 per breast, so the fourth person doesn’t even need to use their HEA, oh good!)
  • 6 tbsp of chopped jalapenos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp quark
  • 12 rashers of back bacon (12 syns) (see note below)
  • herb/rub combination of your choice – we just use some dried chilli as we like the heat

Can we quickly chat about chicken breasts? Because we forgot to get our Musclefood chicken out of the freezer, we went and bought four breasts from Aldi. They looked decent but when cooked, shrivelled right down. This is why I’m not a fan of supermarket chicken, it’s neither here nor there in the taste department and full of water. We do get commission from Musclefood but even if we didn’t, I’d genuinely recommend it. The breasts are big, firm and bouncy, just like my own, and they cook well and taste decent. You get 5kg of chicken breasts in our £50 delivered Musclefood deal and there’s mince, bacon and beef in there too – it’s really a very good deal! Click here for that. Oh, and we’re running a competition to win one of our £50 hampers – click here and enter!

You can use bacon medallions for this and make it syn-free, but here’s the thing – 1 rasher of back bacon is normally about a syn according to Slimming World’s online syn checker. For this recipe, I’d suggest using the back bacon because it’s easier to wrap it around the chicken and the fat keeps everything moist. Urgh, moist, I know. Once everything is cooked you don’t actually need to eat the rind (although I’d call you a fool, as it’s the best bit) so the syns drop again. Up to you though, that’s the beauty of this diet! You can also leave out the jalapenos if you don’t like the eat – replace it with a few chopped sundried tomatoes for example, but make sure you count the syns. Finally, you could use ham – wafer thin or parma, but again, check the syns. You don’t want your consultant cussing you out unnecessarily.

to make chicken piglets, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • cut the chicken breasts through the middle, opening them up like a book (don’t cut all the way through)
  • in a bowl mix together the jalapenos, garlic and quark and spread into the middle of the chicken breasts
  • top with slices of cheese
  • close together carefully and wrap three rashers of bacon around each breasts to secure them, overlapping slightly – gently rub your herbs on the top if you want to use them
  • place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes

Easy as that! We served ours with Actifried chips and, genuinely, a big green salad full of speed foods. Easy!

Before I sign off I’m going to point something out though. I’m going to hide it in white text so you’ll need to highlight it to see – I don’t want to put anyone off! So…

Yes, the chicken piglet looks nice, but don’t you think that those two bacon rashers in the picture really look like a very pink shaved scrotum? Is it just me? Mahaha, well, I’ve had worse things in my gob.

Right?

J

syn-free crisps and dip

Here for the crisps and dip? They’re a wee bit lower down, but you won’t have so much to read through tonight to get to the recipe because, to use a Geordieism, I’m STOTTIN’ MAD. It took me two hours to exit the multistorey car-park this evening – not because I fell down the stairs or I got lost trying to find my car, no, because some bumhole thought it would be a smashing idea to block the one-way road off with roadworks and then not put any provisions for people wanting to leave in place, leading to about 300 office workers all trying to leave at once from eight different directions down a one way street. All it would have taken is some preferably-fit bloke in a hi-vis to guide the traffic out or indeed, a set of traffic lights, but no.

To make things worse, I got into my car at 5.05pm and needed a piss by 5.07pm. Of course, I was in a completely static line of traffic so I probably had enough time to get out, go home, have a piss, send that away for testing, discuss why it sometimes smells of coconut with a doctor and then begin a course of antibiotics, but I couldn’t take the risk that as soon as I stepped away and nipped to the gents that the line of traffic wouldn’t start up and I’d end up with a ticket for abandoning my car. 

Have you ever had to look around your car and gauge what you could realistically piss in? I have, and let me tell you, in a reasonably clean DS3, there’s not many options. There’s an ashtray and an oversized glove box, and neither of them are waterproof. A Doritos bag seemed like the only option but even then, I’d need both hands to turn the tight corners and I didn’t want a crisp packet of urine balanced on my dash. I knew there was an empty Orangina bottle in the boot but I couldn’t remember if it was glass or plastic, and well, I’ve spent my life avoiding getting a gash on my helmet, let’s not start tonight.

Nevermind, I managed to hold it in, and after an extended period of muttering away to myself in a very British fashion and embarrassing my friend on the radio, I managed to get away, although not after losing my temper with some doddery old bugger who pretty much reversed into my car in his haste to try and cut in front of me. It’s surprisingly awkward when you shout at someone and then have to sit in front of them for another forty minutes, trying desperately not to meet the eye of the old bugger you yelled at in haste. 

Anyway, I’m home now. I did win £400 on a slot machine so that takes the edge off. You may or may not remember that I practice safe gambling through Quidco. More on that here, but I remind you that if you’ve got an addictive personality, it’s not a good route to go down. I’m a tightarse Geordie so no chance of me getting a gambling addition!

Remember too, we’re running a competition to win £50 of Musclefood meat! Go take a look.

Right, let’s crack on. 

crisps and dip

I’ll pop this here, see the bit about tweaking below, but remember, this is how we feel about tweaking.

TWEAK

to make crisps and dip, you’ll need:

  • a few big potatoes
  • whatever flavouring you like – I used Worcestershire sauce but you can use salt and vinegar
  • 250g tub of fat-free cottage cheese
  • a few big dollops of quark
  • parmesan – use your HEA allowance
  • chopped chives
  • salt and pepper

Honestly, slicing potatoes evenly is a fart-on. Buy a mandolin slicer, it’s one of the things we use most in the kitchen for slicing up veg and it’ll save you a tonne of time. They’re here and cheap. Tight-arse.

to make crisps and dip, you should:

  • slice your potato nice and thin and even, like Good King Wenceslas did (and I bet he didn’t have a load of people having a shitfit at him over whether it’s a bloody tweak!)
  • season them – few sprays of olive oil, worcestershire sauce, salt
  • place in the oven but keep an eye on them – rather than lying them flat, place them standing up between the ‘rungs’ of a cooling tray, that way you don’t need to clart about turning the buggers
  • once they’re nearly done, take them out, leave to cool and then put them in the microwave in a couple of batches – keep an eye on them though, they can burn quite quickly, you’re just trying to dry them out
  • blend the cottage cheese, parmesan and quark together – I use my Nutribullet for this, but you can just use a hand blender, you don’t need owt fancy (though I use my Nutribullet a surprising amount)
  • top the dip with chopped chives
  • serve

Are these a taste explosion? No, not at all. Whilst they were decent enough, I’d prefer to syn crisps. Should you class these as a tweak? Depends. If you’re chopping one potato up, then I wouldn’t bother. If you’re slicing up a sack of potatoes bigger than a taxi, then yes, it’s a tweak, and yes you should syn. Slimming World will tell you to syn this – it’s up to you how you want to play it.

I’m not your boss!

J

four meals from a chicken: chicken, ham and leek pie

Our third recipe using up the leftover scraps of chicken to make a chicken, ham and leek pie – this time, scrape every last bit of meat you can from the bones. It’s all a bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but really, don’t waste any. If you’re running short, just up the amount of ham and leek and no-one will notice. Keep the carcass mind! We’re going to boil it up tomorrow. Quick post tonight.

OH! We have a competition! Win yourself a free Musclefood freezer filler courtesy of your favourite blog, right here

Speaking of pie, I was going to post a lovely recipe for apple and persimmon tart, but see Rob came home and I burnt the custard and er, stabbed him in the back. Well obviously not, but does anyone else listen to The Archers? I don’t, as a rule, but I catch the odd episode as I drive home maybe once a fortnight, and feel like I keep up-to-date with the storylines just fine. Goodness, I nearly drove into a ditch as I listened to the last episode. I haven’t been this moved by the radio since poor Heather-Pet died.

Mind, anyone who thinks The Archers is indicative of country living is completely wrong – well, they got one syllable of that right – there’s nowhere near enough of pointing slackjawed at aeroplanes, showing into holes in the ground and bumming behind hay-bales, for one. Anyway, hush, let’s rush to the recipe!

chicken, ham and leek pie chicken, ham and leek pie

to make four lots of chicken, ham and leek pie you’ll need:

  • every last scrap of leftover chicken or turkey, or, two chicken breasts cut into small chunks – perhaps use two breasts from the many, many breasts you get as part of our freezer filler box from Musclefood (£80 of meat for £50, all pure meats, no fanciness)
  • two fancy shallots
  • three big leeks (use a mandolin slicer to make short work of slicing these buggers, and better yet, our recommended mandolin is only £9 on Amazon at the moment)
  • massive handful of peas
  • syn-free wafer thin ham
  • two minced garlic cloves
  • 440g of Philadelphia lightest (440g being 4 x HEA, and as this makes enough for four pies, it’s one each – otherwise, syn 440g of Philadelphia as 5.5 syns per pie)
  • 500g of cottage cheese or Quark – if it’s cottage cheese, you’ll need to make sure you get a syn-free version like Tesco’s Healthy Living
  • 100g of Jus-Rol light puff pastry, divided into four – that’s 4 syns each (4.25 syns really but come on)
  • an egg
  • a bit of milk to loosen it might be needed

TOP TIP: you can make this syn free if you make a bubble and squeak rosti from leftover Sunday veg and use that as a lid instead – you can find the recipe for that right here

to make four lots of chicken, ham and leek pie you should:

  • slice up the shallots, leeks, water thin ham, mince the garlic and add in the chicken and sweat it all down in a pan
  • slowly stir in the Philadelphia with plenty of black pepper
  • slowly stir in the Quark or, if you’re using cottage cheese, blend that first and then pour it in
  • let everything simmer very gentle for maybe half an hour, if it is too thic, loosen it off with a splash of milk
  • when you’re ready to cook, pour the mixture into four seperate pie dishes or one big Pyrex dish
  • stretch out your pastry to cover the top – if you’re struggling, why not just cut out a shape like a star using a cookie cutter (like our post right here) and put that on instead?
  • brush with egg and use any leftover pastry to write an obscene word on the top
  • bake in the oven until the pie is golden and serve with veg
  • easy!

Enjoy! Remember if you’re being a tight-arse with syns you should replace the pastry with the rosti lid – just as nice and a bit more speed too. Oh if you need them, the individual pie dishes can be found here

J

cheesy bacon burger fries

OK, so the recipe for cheesy bacon burger fries is a bit of a hybrid between two favourites – our tater tots recipe and our enchilada steak fries. Both wonderful recipes, but if you combine the two, well, it looks awful on a plate, but tastes delicious. Honest guv, promise. Scroll down if all you’re here for are the recipes. Sob.

Meanwhile, here’s part three of our Iceland trip! You’ll find parts one and two right here and here. Run, don’t walk. Remember, more travel stuff in our new book which can be bought for the tiny sum of £4.99 right here!

twochubbycubs go to iceland: part three

Tired from yesterday’s day of looking into cracks, dealing with spurting geysers and admiring a foamy gush, we decided to spend the day mincing about in Reykjavik, seeing the sights, buying tat. As you do. We filled up on an early breakfast and walked the thirty or so minutes along the seafront into the town centre. It feels so peculiar to be shopping and walking around with everyone at 10am, with the sky still inky black and the very first fingers of sunlight just poking through. We could cheerfully live there – we don’t need the light – already got arthritis, might as well go for rickets and get the fullhouse. We stopped (shamefully) for a coffee in Dunkin’ Donuts. I know, I know, eat local, blah blah, but in our defence they had a gorgeous selection of donuts and we wanted to nick their WiFi. The hotel wifi was crap – almost like being back in 2000 and trying to watch porn on a dial-up modem. That was an awful experience, let me tell you. We decided on a rough schedule of the National Museum, the church, shops and then Escape the Room. After finishing our coffee, tutting at children and other tourists, we were on our way.

We walked through the parks and headed up to the National Museum of Iceland, full of vim and joy and wonder from the beautiful snow-filled parks and the frozen lake, pausing only briefly to try and find a toilet. There were signs everywhere but no visible toilet block – presumably because, if Iceland was anything like England, as soon as you enclose three toilets in concrete and asbestos, you’ll have a seedy man with a hand-crank drilling a glory hole and putting his name on the wall. After much looking, we eventually found one of those tiny automatic toilets that look like a TARDIS, with the spinning door and scary buttons. Unlike England, you didn’t need to pay 20p for the privilege of pissing, and Paul was soon merrily enclosed in this tiny metal tube having a wee. He didn’t bank on me hiding around the back and screaming in his face as he emerged, but well, we like to keep things fresh. You’ll see these all over Reykjavik. We were at the museum in no time at all.

Well, let me just say this – for all that we heard that Icelandic folk were friendly, welcoming and pleasant (and, to be fair, they were for the most part), every last member of staff in the museum had a face like they’d seen their arse and didn’t like the colour of it. Clearly smiling and pleasantries were off the menu. I’ve never felt such guilt for asking for a bloody welcome leaflet.

I have a bit of a love/hate thing with museums. See I want to be one of those people in coats that smell of eggs that will stand and …hmmm and …oh I see over every exhibit, but try as I might, I just don’t have the attention span. It was all so very dry and boring for a country forged from fire and ice. I was captivated by the sight of some hipster twatknacker doing warm-up exercises in the ‘Vikings’ section. Why? He was making sure all eyes were on him as his silly little man-bun bobbed up and down. 

We did happen across a mildly interesting exhibition on women in the workplace, which afforded us the chance to titter at some exposed breasts and make blue remarks, but that was it. There was an old style Bakelite phone sitting on a plinth – Paul picked it up, looked grave and then shouted ‘NO DEAL’, much to the obvious hatred of the stern looking curator. We make our own fun, at least. We took a moment to look around the gift shop but again, the staff seemed so unwelcoming that we put down the little bottle of pink rock salt that we were going to buy and hastened on our way. You’d think judging by her pinched face and obvious expression of blistering hatred that she’d mined the salt herself using her teeth.

In Reykjavik, your eyes are always drawn to a church high up on the hill called Hallgrímskirkja, and despite misgivings about how steep the hill was vs how fat our English little bodies were, we set out to have an explore and a look. Perhaps it was the promise of an exceptionally large organ that enticed us. Forty minutes and much swearing later, we arrived, took the obligatory photos, marvelled at the fact that this church smelled exactly like an English church (foist, farts and cabbage soup) and had a reverent look around.

It was wonderful, it really was. I’m not a religious person – I’m not going down on my knees unless it’s to pick up change, give a blowjob or a bizarre combination of the two – but even I was captivated. The lighting, the architecture, the ten million girls shrieking into their hands and milling around – all wonderful. It was prayer time, so everyone was head-bowed and silent, bar for the vicar who somewhat ruined the placidity by bellowing urgently into his phone from high in the eves. He could have been giving a sermon, I suppose, though it rather sounded like he’d been stabbed in the throat and was calling urgently for help.

We waited until most of the tourists had filtered back out before walking up to the altar. I noticed that neither of us had burst into flames for our wicked sodomising ways, leaving me comfortable enough to inch forward to look at the ornate work on the lectern. I’d barely taken in a detail when a tiny mobile phone on a stick crossed my vision, close enough to part my eyebrows. Well, honestly. A tourist with a selfie stick. I find them pointless at the best of times – why would you go on holiday just to take a photo of your face gazing blankly into middle distance whilst blocking out anything pretty? That happens to me every time I look in the mirror to shave. That, and tears of sadness.

Naturally, Paul and I were so aghast that we spent the next fifteen minutes subtly following this poor lady around the church, making sure we were just in the background of all her shots, grimacing and gurning away. She eventually caught on when I tripped over the edge of a pew in my haste to get the top of my head poking into her shot of the font and her face. We made a sharp exit. I like to think we’ll be on a Facebook page far away – the two fat menaces of Iceland.

As we left, we noticed a lift that we’d missed in our haste to get inside – a lift which took you right to the top of the church tower (and that’s high – the church being the sixth tallest structure in Iceland). Perfect! After paying a small charge to keep the church going, we were in the lift and away, with only a momentary and startling stop halfway up, when the lift stopped and the doors opened on a solid brick wall. I’ve seen Bad Girls, I know this is how it ends, but before I’d had chance to scratch ‘FENNER’ into the bricks the lift rattled away and we were at the top.

Stunning. I could post all manner of fancy photos from the top of here but really, they all look very similar. This photo should give you a chance to see how colourful the houses are and how Reykjavik is laid out.

IMG_2389

Taking photos is actually quite difficult, as the little openings which provide the view have bars across them (presumably to stop you hurling yourself out through the shame of ruining someone’s photos), meaning you have to undertake a nail-biting manoeuvre of holding your phone in your hands over a 70m drop. I get the jitters stirring my tea, so seeing Paul waving his phone around had my arse nipping. Mind, not as much as the fact that, completely and utterly oblivious to where I was, I took a moment for quiet reflection and leant against the central column, only to have my eardrums blown through my skull by the giant bell no more than 3ft above my head ringing in 2pm. I said an exceptionally non-church friendly word at the top of my voice, removed my trousers from my sphincter and, somewhat dazed, went to find Paul, who somehow hadn’t managed to either drop his phone or shit himself. Truly, a miracle. Cheers Big G.

The next couple of hours were spent looking around the many, many stores that fill Rekjavic’s main shopping streets, though I’ll say this right now – if I never see another stuffed fucking puffin again I’ll be happy. Or a t-shirt that suggested fat people were great because they can’t outrun polar bears (yeah, but we can eat them, so you overlooked that one). We bought two figurines for the games room and, thanks to Paul leaving my iPad chargers in the old room and the maid being dishonest enough to keep it, a new charger from a knock-off Apple shop where again, we were met with abysmal customer service – waiting almost ten minutes for the bespectacled little spelk to finish his conversation and address the only customers for miles. Listen, don’t take my moaning as evidence that the Icelandic are a frosty (ha-de-ha) bunch, they’re not – aside from the odd knobhead, everyone was charming. 

We partook in a couple of traditional ‘street food’ items which were just bloody amazing – fries at Reykjavik Chips and a hotdog from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. The fries place we happened across just off the main shopping street and it was amazing, even though it was just fries and Béarnaise sauce washed down with beer. You get the fries piping hot in a paper cone with sauce dribbled all over them, and you take a seat at a tiny table with a hole drilled in to hold your cone, all served with beer. Something so simple but done right. The hotdog was a weird one – it really was just a bog-standard hotdog – delicious, but I couldn’t understand the fanfare bar the fact that the stand had apparently been there since time immemorial. Perhaps it was the fact that the guy serving officially had Dreamboat status – not our type, heavens no, but he had one of those faces that moisten knickers just with a glance. Bastard.

Once we were full and our wallets empty, we decided it was either time to Escape the Room or go back to the hotel for a Fat Nap. After a bit of deliberation, we decided our time would be best spent walking along to Reykjavik’s version of ‘Escape the Room’, where you’re locked in a room by a sinister figure and told you will never escape. After a short but arresting diversion via the offices of the Chinese Embassy, we arrived. The woman in charge was wonderful – full of good cheer and welcoming bonhomie. We were given a choice between prison, curing cancer or escaping the clutches of an evil abductress. Naturally, we chose prison. The rules were explained – no breaking things, no wresting lights from the ceiling or sockets from the wall, no oil fires – and then we were led into the room.

At this point, the lady in charge told us to get into character and act like we were in prison. Paul look suitably chagrined whilst I immediately skittered a bar of soap along the floor and bent over with a ‘what AM I like’ leer. What can I say, I’m like Pavlov’s dog. Once I’d straightened myself up, tucked my trouser pocket back in and scrubbed off the ‘WING BITCH’ tattoo from my neck, we were on our way.

I can tell you that we escaped, but it was close, with only a few minutes left on the clock. Paul derailed us immediately by finding a key, deciding it wasn’t relevant and putting it away, not realising it was a crucial part of the first clue. We had been given a phone so we can text our ‘captor’ if we got stuck – we only used it three times, and one of those was Paul accidentally ringing her with his buttocks. To be fair, she probably thought the sound of his cheeks slapping together and the odd, low, rasping fart was just his attempt at speaking Icelandic.

After emerging victorious, we were made to stand for a photo with some ‘AREN’T WE CLEVER’ signs – we didn’t buy them because of course, we look awful. We’re not the worst looking people in the world but we just can’t get a good photo together. Between my chins spilling down my chest like an armadillo’s back and Paul’s barely-tuned in eyes, we’re a mess. If we had children, they’d come out looking like Hoggle from Labyrinth viewed through the bottom of a pint glass. Ah well. She did at least have the good grace when taking the photo not to back away too far to get all of our bulk in.

Tuckered out, we headed back to the hotel, dispensed with all our flimflam and ate a very passable meal in the hotel restuarant. Dangerously, we ordered drinks and put them on our room bill rather than paying for it upfront, which made for quite the unpleasant surprise at the end of the trip. REMEMBER: ICELAND = EXPENSIVE.

We slept like logs that night.

previousArtboard 1 nextArtboard 1

Anyway, let’s get this bloody recipe out of the way. You came here for cheesy bacon burger fries and who the fuck am I to deny you such pleasures? It serves four, easily, or two fatties. I tweaked the recipe from another blog for this one – link right here. I’ve made it SW friendly though.

IMG_2381

to make cheesy bacon burger fries you will need:

  • 1kg potatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • half a lettuce, chopped
  • 120g bacon medallions (have I told you how wonderful you are? If not, you are. Also, you can buy our big meat package with bacon!), chopped
  • 400g lean beef mince (just saying, but we also do a smaller meat package, see? Click here for that – you only need to use up a third of the bacon from here!)
  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce (where the syns come from)
  • 3 tbsp passata
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 100g mature reduced fat cheddar (40g being one HEA)
  • 200g quark

to make cheesy bacon burger fries you should:

  • cut the potatoes into chips however you liked them – we cut them into thin fries which worked great. crinkle cut would be even better!
  • cook them however you like – in an actifry (available for £99 for Amazon Prime Members right here), air fryer, halo, oven…however you want!
  • in a small bowl mix together the mustard powder and vinegar and set aside
  • whilst the chips are cooking, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat with a little oil and fry the bacon until just cooked
  • add the mince and continue to stir and fry until cooked
  • add the tomato sauce, passata and mustard mix and some salt and pepper to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes
  • when cooked, remove from the heat and keep warm
  • heat the quark in a small saucepan over a medium heat 
  • add the cheese and stir regularly, making sure it doesn’t split
  • when the chips are cooked transfer them to a large serving dish
  • sprinkle over the the lettuce, mince and onions and cheese sauce- maybe layer them if you like! we meant to but I was a bit gung-ho

J

slow cooker lasagne

Do you know, I’m never comfortable typing lasagne. I dither for ages as to whether it’s lasagne or lasagna and whenever I type it into google my eyes glaze over through boredom and I give up. So, take your pick. 

Super quick post tonight as we’ve only just got back from returning the Smart Car. Paul loves it. I hate it with the passion of a thousand suns. Admittedly, it was surprisingly roomy (but not roomy enough for any backseat shenanigans…not least because it doesn’t have a backseat, unless you fancy singeing your arse cheeks on the engine and having the Mercedes logo branded above your nipsy) but it was so…I hate to use the word lame, I’m not in Mean Girls, but yes, lame. I’ve never heard a car wheeze before. Paul stepped on the accelerator and it ‘shot away’ from a junction like a stubborn poo round a u-bend – going, but just. It did give the neighbours something to look at however and turning around at the top of the street was great fun as it can seemingly turn on a penny, but no, no, we’re not getting one. Sorry Paul! I embarrassed him today by parking outside the Smart car dealership whilst he was inside handing back the keys and putting the Black Beauty theme on loud. 

Tonight’s recipe, then – slow cooker lasagne. This serves six and only uses one 400g portion of extra lean mince, the type that you can buy from our Musclefood deal by clicking here. Just saying! You can bulk this out as much as you like by adding carrots, courgette, peas – any old shite you happen to have floating around in the back of the freezer. Also, this can easily be made vegetarian by replacing the beef mince with Quorn or similar. But ew, right. I hope they’ve improved Quorn mince since the last time I tried it – it was like digesting loft insulation. This lasagne is pretty much the same method as a normal lasagne. The pasta cooks slowly and is so soft, it’s almost like another sauce. Sounds like I’m having a joke but honestly, it’s good. That’s why it is essential to make your mince sauce as tasty as possible, it carries the dish! 

We served ours with roast potatoes and some steamed broccoli. Oh how fancy. 

SLOW COOKER LASAGNE

Look at it bubbling away…

IMG_2348

Looking good! Right. So…

to make slow cooker lasagne, you’ll need:

  • 400g lean beef mince
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 280g lasagne sheets (about 2/3rds of a box)
  • 340g fat-free cottage cheese
  • 250g quark
  • as much reduced fat mozzarella cut into chunks as you like – 65g is one person’s HEA, and this serves six
  • whatever speed food you have about

to make slow cooker lasagne, you should:

  • in a large frying pan heat a little oil/Frylight over a medium high heat, add the onions and sweat down
  • add the garlic and the mince and stir occasionally until no pink meat remains
  • add the chopped tomatoes, passata, tomato puree and any other speed veg you are using into the pan and stir well, cook for a few minutes
  • meanwhile, add all of the cheeses into a bowl and mix together
  • spoon a quarter of the meat mixture into the slow cooker, top with a few lasagne sheets (break them up if you need to) and then spread over the top a quarter of the cheese mixture – repeat this three more times to make layers
  • cook on a low heat for 5 hours with the lid on

This freezes well, you’ll be glad to know. We portioned some up, put it in the freezer and got them about again 15 minutes later to eat. That’s portion control for you!

J


Remember, if you’re a fan of our writing, we now have a book out! You can find that here!

sticky sausages with cheesy sweet potato kale mash

Did you miss us? I did mention we were going to take some time off, and well, listen, I’ve seen some of the things people search for to find this blog. I didn’t want them knowing the house was empty and we were out of the country. I just couldn’t bear it if someone had broken in and judged my skittered-toilet or the Lindt Chocolate Wrapper Mountain. So – we took some time off and here we are. We would have been back a bit sooner but our blog fell over from so many new people joining! OOPS.This post is going to be a bit of a house-keeping post just to get everyone up to speed, but, because we’re just THAT kind, we’ll chuck in a recipe for sticky sausages.

FIRST: my exciting news! We have a proper book out! Well, it’s a Kindle book, but it’s a colossal collection of all the articles and funny bits from our blog – a year’s worth coming in at over 100,000 words, condensed into neat little topics covering activities such as having a colonic irrigation to our various calamities in Corsica, Ireland and Germany. I’m told it’s a good read and if you’re a fan of our writing or if you want to support us, please give it a purchase! If you’re a long time reader and want to make my day, please do! It’s the same price as a SW class, only you’ll not get a sloshing bowl of fruit with each purchase.

You can buy it here – and I’d love you forever!

SECOND: I can’t believe how out of control this blog and our facebook group has become. We’ve gone from kicking over around 30,000 – 40,000 views a day to well over 140,000. Keep sharing! We have many social streams you can throw yourself into:

  • a Facebook group –  (for chat, odd postings from us, other nonsense – but mind, don’t join if you’re a Professionally Offended Person, because I can’t be fussed on with that – and it is NOT a HOW MANNY SINZ PLEAS group, so none of that muck or I’ll smack your arse
  • a Facebook page –  if you like this, whenever we post a recipe it’ll appear in your facebook feed – no spam
  • a Twitter account – same deal as before, but with less characters

I am flirting with Instagram but I’m just terrified of installing it on my phone and having forty shots of Paul’s bumhole uploaded into the cloud with the hashtag #darkmeat.

THIRD: we have renewed our deal with Musclefood for the two offers we have:

We do get a small amount for recommending Musclefood but honestly, if something was shite, I’d tell you. We find the meat tasty and affordable – other meat suppliers are available. If you’re a vegetarian, there are plenty of recipes to be found scattered on our blog. We’re very tasteful and inclusive, it comes from years of being confirmed manhole-inspectors.

FOURTH: we’ve got a massive queue of comments to filter through – we will get to them, I promise.

FIFTH: we are absolutely and utterly not an official Slimming World blog. We are unofficial – meaning we follow the diet and work the syns out ourselves, like every other blog, but we’re not employed by Slimming World. Listen, they wouldn’t have us. We swear like shipyard workers, we fart all the time and our classes would be 55 minutes of hilarity and 5 minutes of ‘HOW MUCH YOU LOST HUN’. We believe Slimming World works, we really do, but we just can’t bear to be another blog which is cloying and sweet. If you’re not a fan of swearing, rude comments and frank discussions, then please just enjoy the recipes or move on. We’ve received a few personal messages from people telling us how we should write our blog – that’s not how it works. You take us as you find us, great big hairy man-tits as well.

We’ve got some excellent stuff coming up – we’re back on it from the very second we get weighed on a Thursday night, and you’re going to see a slightly different, more determined attitude from us going forward. But listen, don’t worry, if you’re here purely to learn some new filthy euphemisms, there will be plenty of that too.

We’ve got Iceland to talk about for one thing – five days spent shuffling around in the cold, biting wilderness eating fermented shark, buying penises (yes) and even parting with money in a Minge. It’s been all go. There’s also been trips to the hairdresser, a Christmas party, a new wedding and a massage to talk about in excruciating detail.

Ah yes, with dear old Nana being turned into polyester and lavender ash and scattered to the wind this year, Christmas was a little different. Not least because I didn’t leave with my ears bleeding from having to yell THANKS FOR MY SLIPPERS eighty-seven times whilst she cricked her neck at me and smiled unknowingly like a bemused sparrow. We spent Christmas Day together, just Paul and I, and then Boxing Day with the family. Paul created a wonderful Christmas dinner – naturally I did my bit by lying prostrate on the couch wailing for more gin, more ice, more lemons, more attention. I’m a heartless bugger.

We are so ready to get back to eating properly, mind. We’ve had so much rich, dense food that I haven’t been on the usual Slimming World plan shitcycle of forty craps a day. Every fart I do sounds like the opening trumpet solo from Carnaval de Paris. I’m surprised we haven’t had officials from Northumbrian Water knocking on the door out of concern.

Right, so let’s get to it! Sticky sausages await!

sticky sausages

Just to explain that wee warning on the bottom of the photo. Please feel free to share our images and recipe, but do not remove our name from them. The photograph, text and recipe remain our work. 

to make sticky sausages in onion gravy you will need:

  • 6 syn-free sausages (or low syn, or 100 syns, listen, I’m not the boss here, you have whatever you want my love, I won’t tell a soul)
  • 3 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp honey (1 syn)
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh thyme (not essential, so don’t shit the bed if you haven’t got it)
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 400ml beef stock

to make sticky sausages in onion gravy you should: 

  • cook the sausages however you like (we use an Actifry because we’re decadent bitches) and keep aside – you’ll want to do the rest whilst they’re cooking
  • heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the onions and stir well, like it’s a juicy bit of gossip about someone you hate at work
  • cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until softened and mushy
  • remove the lid, add the honey and worcestershire sauce and stir well
  • cook for another 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions have softened and turned golden
  • increase the heat to medium-high and gradually add the stock, stirring frequently
  • add the thyme and stir
  • allow the gravy to thicken until it’s sticky and wonderful and pour over the sausages

Now just listen here, you’ve probably seen that great big orange and green mass on the side of the plate…well, that’s our attempt at getting some speed food on the plate in the form of cheesy sweet potato and kale mash. Don’t worry, we’re not going to become professional kale-botherers, but it’s actually quite a tasty addition.

to make kale and sweet potato cheesy mash you will need: 

  • 150g kale, chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 220g quark
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (and really, you could do worse than use one of these, our favourite gadget)
  • 1 tsp dried dill and 1 tsp of parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil and same again of thyme
  • 50ml milk taken from your milk allowance

If you don’t have the herbs, just make do with what you’ve got or leave them out – not a dealbreaker!

to make kale and sweet potato cheesy mash you should:

  • bring a large pan of water to the boil
  • add the potatoes and boil for about 10-15 minutes until soft to the touch, then drain
  • in the now empty pan, add the milk, quark, herbs, garlic and kale and stir over a medium heat until the kale has wilted and reduced
  • add the potatoes back to the pan and mash like buggery

ENJOY OUR STICKY SAUSAGES! We’re back!

J and P

one-pot sausage gnocchi bake

Recipe for sausage gnocchi bake below. You’re going to love it.

OK, so only a quick one tonight – and I’m not entirely sure we haven’t already posted this. But look, it doesn’t matter. It was wonderful, and frankly you can forgive me any old shite when I’ve covered it in melted cheese. Half of  our dishes come out of the oven looking like a burnt knee, but through the wonders of careful photography and judicious cropping, you just never know. Perhaps if I presented it on one of those fancy Slimming World plates you can buy, where someone has scribbled all over a nice white plate with some felt-tips to show ‘what you should eat’ – a concept immediately defeated when you then proceed to cover the plate with your dinner, I presume. I don’t understand the concept of drawing out ‘what I should eat’ on my plate. It’s the foodie equivalent to scratching the TV guide into the glass of your television screen.

Actually, I saw one of these plates advertised on a facebook group the other day and asked what she meant by ‘for show only’, given I was envisioning someone having it on their mantlepiece like a decorative clock or one of those god-awful ‘jumping dolphins rendered in plaster of paris’ statues that everyone had in the nineties. She advised me that it meant it couldn’t be washed or indeed, eaten off. To me, that breaks the two fundamental rules of a plate. It’s definitely not something you’d keep for best. 

Before anyone starts, I’m not knocking the lass for being entrepreneurial and flogging a few plates – all the very best and good luck to her! Nothing but chipperness for those who make their own way in the world.

But honestly, Paul, if you’re reading this, I’m telling you now: if I get a decorated plate, bloody chalk-heart board or a food diary with a cupcake and twattish inspirational message on the front for Christmas, I’m going to bite your cock off and set it on fire.

Speaking of nonsense items that I’d sooner throw into the sun than have in my house, we seem to be locked in a battle of wills with our local Kleeneze distributor. Every few weeks he pushes a tatalogue of nonsense through our door with the passive aggressive note that he’ll be back within a few days to pick it up. We immediately put it somewhere out of sight so we don’t succumb to temptation and end up buying all manner of plastic shite for the kitchen or a portable urinal. A portable urinal for men. Haway. The WORLD is a portable urinal when you’re a guy. Fair enough a shewee allows a lady to have a dainty tinkle instead of grunting around a ditch squatting like a shitting rhino, but a male version? I once, in my more athletic and skinny days, pissed out of a moving car because we were late for a ferry. Don’t worry, we weren’t boarding the ferry at the time. And I wasn’t driving. Dangerous when I think about it – an errant branch whipping into my knob at seventy miles an hour could have really changed how my life turned out. 

Anyway, he always ends up knocking on the door and asking for his tatalogue back, and thus begins a hunt for the offending item and a request that he doesn’t deliver to us anymore. But he never listens. Each time we spend a bit longer looking for it, but he still doesn’t get the message. I’m not enough of a bastard to rip the catalogue up (plus our shredder is on the blink – I wonder if Kleeneze sell those awful scissors with four blades that ‘replace a shredder…maybe I should look…just once) – after all, it’s someone’s business, but I’m telling you now, if it continues, I’ll be putting a VERY passive aggressive terse note on their facebook page. It’s the very British thing to do. He needs to be careful – remember we’re always naked in this house (seriously, it’s like the video for Sweet Harmony by The Beloved viewed through a heat shimmer), next time he does it I’m going to put the offending tatalogue in my bumcrack and poke it around the door.

 

Ah well. Listen, here’s tonight’s recipe, before I get carried away. This makes enough for four if you’re serving it with a side, or two geet big fatties like us.

sausage gnocchi bake

to make sausage gnocchi bake you’ll need:

  • 6 sausages, casings removed (you can use the Slimming World sausages if you MUST, but why not save them for what they’re really for – sucking every last bit of moisture from the air and summoning evil? Bloody awful things. GO TO MUSCLEFOOD INSTEAD MAN)
  • 400g gnocchi (6 syns, so between four, 1.5 syns)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 75g Quark
  • 140g light mozarella ball (HexA x 2)

to make sausage gnocchi bake you will need:

  • heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, using a bit of oil or your Frylight
  • add the gnocchi and fry gently until the sides are golden – keep them moving though, they can catch easily. This will take about eight minutes or so, then remove from the pan and set aside 
  • in the same pan, add the sausage meat and cook until browned – remember to keep breaking it up (a masher works well for this) and then remove from the pan and set aside – I like to put it in the same bowl/plate as the gnocchi to keep it warm
  • in the same pan again add the diced tomatoes, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and cook for about seven minutes, stirring occasionally until it’s thickened down
  • reduce the heat and add the quark to the pan, as well as the gnocchi and sausage meat and stir well to mix
  • scatter the mozzarella over the top and keep on the heat until it has melted – you can also put it under the grill for a little bit if your pan can handle it to get it nicely browned and bubbling
  • serve

DONE. If you’re a fan of gnocchi and you’re as surprised as we were that you can have it on Slimming World, why not give our amazing ham, cheese and pea gnocchi dish a go? OH YES.

rosemary and goat cheese macaroni cheese

That awkward moment when you’re about to start a blog post, you open your blinds for inspiration and just over the road is the sight of a neighbour getting changed with his curtains open. I hope he doesn’t think I was peeking – I’d get more sexual gratification from reading the ingredients list on a Rustlers burger. It’s only fair, they’ve seen Paul and I in the altogether enough time to draw a timelapse of our bodies from memory, like a particularly gruesome version of the Take on Me video. They’d certainly need a big pencil. Fnar fnar.

I’m somewhat tetchy as sleep hasn’t been especially forthcoming lately. No dramatic reason – Monday night I was awoken by Paul farting so loudly I thought someone had been shot. I couldn’t decide whether my heart was beating so quickly due to the shock or because my body was trying desperately to dilate my nostrils as quick as possible in the hope of getting some fresh air. I appreciate that’s crass but honestly, I couldn’t drift off for another four hours. I had to get up and wash the dishes.

Last night was the worst, though. Went to bed full of good intentions and Chinese food at an entirely appropriate midnight. The blinds were drawn, our ceiling awash with stars from the little projector we have. All very serene. I was asleep before you could say ‘Oh I wouldn’t love, it’s like a ploughed field back there’.

Woke up at 1am by the heating. Yes, the heating. Our house is now controlled by a tiny Nest thermostat which is apparently learning when we’d like the house to be warm and when we want it colder than a mother in law’s kiss. For whatever reason, it decided that at 1am on a Wednesday morning I’d like to be cremated, because, not kidding, I woke up so hot I almost set off the smoke alarm. If Paul had hurled a pan of boiling sugar in my face I’d have been refreshed. I didn’t even know our house could get to that temperature but somehow it managed it. I went to shake Paul awake because well, I wasn’t going to get up, but touching him was like trying to catch a fish in a barrel full of lube, he was so slick with sweat. He’s lucky, he could sleep through a plane crash. I wandered into the hallway to be bathed in light from our ‘reassuring’ smoke alarm (seriously, it lights up the hallway when you go for a piss so you don’t stub your toe, how thoughtful), clocked the cat having a Solero to cool down, and adjusted the heating from ‘Magma’. Perhaps it’s trying to kill us.

I retired back to bed, after bailing all of Paul’s sweat out of the bed and onto the floor, and drifted back off, comforted by the sound of my skin blistering as I slept.

At 1.45am, the cat, clearly refreshed, thought it was altogether too unfair that I had briefly teased him an hour ago, and proceeded to climb onto my pillow and start doing that ‘knead-knead-purr’ thing that cats do when they want your attention / want feeding. He was immediately (delicately) shot-putted out of the window (we live in a bungalow, it’s fine, he bounces) and I tried to return to the Land of Nod.

Nope.

At around 2.30am, the cat came back through the cat-flap with such ferocity that he must have nudged the sensor on the back door just enough to set the house alarm caterwauling. Paul slept on, I stumbled out of bed calling the world a c*nt, turned the alarm off and then furiously made myself a cup of tea. It’s amazing how much rage you can funnel into boiling a kettle, honestly. At this point, after my tea, there was little chance of sleeping, not least because I wasn’t entirely unconvinced I wasn’t being pranked by the Big Man Upstairs (God, not some gimp we keep in the attic – though I don’t believe in either). I had the impression that had I gone to sleep, the bed would have burst ‘hilariously’ into flames or someone would have driven a car through the window. I lay in bed, reached for my iPad, clicked it on and was immediately castigated by Paul who claimed the tiny ‘tick’ noise had woken him up ‘AND IT’S NO BLOODY WONDER YOU DON’T SLEEP WITH THAT THING BLARING AWAY’. Blaring away! This from a man who would cheerfully sleep through someone cutting off his leg with a fucking butter knife. So naturally I stabbed him to death and buried him in the garden. 

I lay in bed some more, contemplating death and/or sleep. Neither came. I read somewhere that masturbation is nature’s sedative but given Paul was on HIGH ALERT from the sound of one finger hitting a glass screen, ten minutes of my wrist fwapping away wouldn’t have helped. It might have been worth it just to get revenge of Paul and give him a face mask for the morning, but no.  I got my headphones, put on a podcast about funfairs in the vain hope that the polite chatter would lull me away, but no, ten minutes in and I was awaken by the sound of screaming kids on a rollercoaster channeled directly into my ear. At this point, I gave up entirely, had a bath for two hours, stared at Paul in the darkness and watched Jeremy Kyle with the subtitles on and someone gurning away in the corner. A signer, not Graham. I’ve never been so sick of my life as I was this morning, with dawn creeping in.

Still, other people have it worse, don’t they?

Tonight’s recipe is simple enough to make – it’s macaroni cheese, but poshed up a bit with the addition of roasted garlic and a sauce made from goat cheese and Quark. Oh and there’s rosemary, for that ostentatious-bastard look.

IMG_2277

Look, it’s really hard to make a white dish on a white plate look attractive. It did taste good though! This serves four. There’s a lot of garlic in there but it adds so much flavour, and garlic cooked slowly loses a lot of potency, You could leave it out if you don’t want to be Stinky McGee though.

so to make rosemary and goat cheese macaroni cheese, you’ll need:

  • 400g pasta
  • 100g soft goats cheese (14 syns between four)
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 115g quark
  • 3 tbs dried rosemary
  • a head of garlic

so to make rosemary and goat cheese macaroni cheese, you should:

  • cut a head of garlic in half horizontally, rub on a bit of oil, put on a tray and put in the oven on a low heat for an hour or so, then scoop out all the sugary, sticky garlic and put to one side
  • heat a large pan of boiling water and cook the pasta according to instructions – reserving about 200ml of the pasta water, and drain and set aside
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the chicken, cooking until golden
  • reduce the heat to low and add the cheese, quark and rosemary and stir well to combine, adding in the soft sticky garlic flesh from earlier
  • add the mixture to the drained pasta, adding a little pasta water as necessary to loosen the sauce and serve